By Chaim Misgav
Gilad Shalit is the child of us all. We encountered his young, handsome face at every turn. I don’t think there was even one person who remained indifferent; not even one person who did not wish to see this sweet child returning home. The debate was, and remains at this time, over the price.
It is indeed difficult to speak of price when talking about a soldier, yet nonetheless we did. Concerned parties spoke about growing terror upon the return of some of the murderers to our streets, while others endorsed a deal “at any price.”
Bibi Netanyahu decided, and I hope he decided well. I do not know how many murderers he is freeing from prison, yet at least now we shall see an end to the cynical use of Gilad’s photo and his family’s real distress by various leftist, arch-radical groups that sought to slam the government while carrying the name of security in vain.
I’m even certain that some of the protestors will be trying to attribute the government’s “capitulation” and Gilad Shalit’s release to their protest.
As a member of the camp of Eretz Yisroel lovers and as one who firmly objects to the diplomatic solution taking shape here, I say that we – the government and the people of Israel – had no choice. The mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim cannot be foregone. It is a mitzvah that must be undertaken even if the bloody price it shall exact is terrible – and I know this will be the case.
People will be murdered in terror attacks – but what other choice do we have? Allowing Gilad Shalit to die in prison?
Neither Marwan Barghouti nor all the other scumbags currently preparing to depart Israeli jails, the people who have the blood of innocents on their hands, are worth the terrible mourning that would have befallen us had Gilad Shalit not returned from captivity, heaven forbid. The Ron Arad trauma is still deeply etched in our flesh, just like the trauma of Eli Cohen, Hashem yinkom domov, who was hung in Damascus, possibly because of negligence or arrogance.
We all educate our children to love this country. This is the country which generations of Jews longed for. This is the land where had a state been established 10 years earlier, millions of Jews would have been spared the Nazi horror. We have no other country, and we therefore have the huge duty of safeguarding it in every way; also at the price of sacrificing our sons and daughters on the altar of defending it.
Yet we must be cautious on one front: We must not show the nations of the world that we are indifferent to the fate of even one Jewish boy. And even if the Arabs want 1,000 souls in exchange for him, this must not deter us. We shall settle the score with the murderers who will be released one way or another. We shall pursue them after they are freed. Every move they make shall be recorded, and I’m certain that at least some of them won’t depart this world in the usual way.
Dr. Chaim Misgav is a law lecturer at the Netanya Academic College.